Top 8 Trumpet Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 2023
1. Audio Modeling SWAM Trumpets V3
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Nail the ensemble sonority with this elegant collection of sounds.
Brass ensembles are distinguished by their individual and combined resonances. Consequently, each instrument might seem incredibly strong on its own and even more so if blended. It’s tough to capture that specific sonority in a plugin, but that’s the reality in SWAM Trumpets V3.
- The instruments
When loading SWAM Trumpets V3, you’ll see that you can choose between five different trumpet models. You can pick from “Flugelhorn (E♭),” “Flugelhorn,” “Trumpet,” “Trumpet (C),” and “Piccolo Trumpet.”
One of the best ways to make an instrument sound like you always wanted is to shape its timbre. Brass instruments like the trumpet are very distinctive in their sonority, and setting how they’ll sound is amazing. With SWAM Trumpets V3, you can do that via the “Timbre” section, with parameters such as “Bell Resonance” and “Breath Noise.”
- Pitch tweaks
SWAM Trumpets V3 also comes with pitch manipulation options that allow you to set the overall tuning to your liking properly. You may easily adjust the “Master Tuning” of the instrument, as well as the general “Pitch” control, “Transposition,” and “Micro Tuning” settings.
- Play modes
If you need to diversify the way the trumpet resonates, then the “Play” modes will be very helpful to you. In addition, you can switch between “Valves” and “Slide” profiles seamlessly, with the former bringing the classic trumpet sonority and the latter showcasing the beautiful legato sounds this instrument can offer.
- Pipe gestures
According to the two modes aforementioned, you can have three pipe gestures in each “Play” mode:ValvesSlide (Coulisse)Normal valve (transitions emphasize overtones)Fixed slide (transitions emphasize overtones)Half valve transitionsSlide follow real (bend)Half valveSlide follow +- 7 (extended)
- Flutter tongue
Flutter tongue is a popular technique in brass instruments, and you may adapt it to fit your musical demands. The level of this parameter may be readily adjusted by using the “Flutter” fader located in the “Expressivity” window.
- The instruments
This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 10 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in VST, VST3, NKS, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
As always, the Audio Modeling team of developers excels in bringing a reliable and good sample library based on an iconic instrument. Gladly, all aspects of the trumpet were masterfully captured in SWAM Trumpets V3, with concise controls and relevant parameters that can make your virtual instrument ring. The “Play” modes may be all you need in terms of versatility, and each fader or knob included in this software will be significantly relevant to your final sound.
2. Wavesfactory Muted Trumpet Harmon
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Now you can nail the best Harmon Mute sounds in a virtual trumpet.
A Harmon Mute is a distinctive piece attached to any trumpet or trombone dedicated to muting the notes in a very specific way. Paddy Harmon first developed it in the 1920s, just in time for the great era of big-band jazz ensembles, and it has since been relevant as one of the most important brass techniques and complementary equipment. In Wavesfactory Muted Trumpet Harmon, you’ll get that sonority translated into multiple sample files.
- Iconic sonority
Since its creation, the Hamon Mute has been widely used and explored in popular music. However, one of the most famous usages was from Miles Davis, who pioneered these sounds by removing a stem and crafting his signature sound. You can easily simulate that and more Hamon Mute sonorities in Muted Trumpet Hamon.
- True legato
One of the most crucial elements of a trumpet’s sound revolves around how its notes are produced and will resonate, especially when talking about legato. The transitions between notes must be crystal clear, and for that, Wavesfactory summoned trumpetist Bernart Xamena to nail the notes and their transitions without pitch shifting involved in the post-production stage. The final result is an authentic-sounding legato technique worthy of a real performance.
The main user interface design is very elegant and concise, bearing an animation of a trumpet that instantly responds to any changes made inside the software window. You can use the “Dynamics,” “Expression,” and “Vibrato” knobs to get the sound you want to hear, aside from the three main articulations – “Sustain,” “Legato,” and “Staccato” – that can be activated via dedicated key switches in your MIDI controller.
The dedicated “Effects” section can be accessed via the main interface on the lower side of the screen. You can add any available options in any order you wish, allowing custom effect chains to be built and seamless activation of each effect. Some options include “EQ,” “Compressor,” “Tape Machine,” and an IR-loaded “Reverb.”
- Iconic sonority
This library is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in Kontakt version 5.7.3 or higher (it will not run in the Free Kontakt Player).
The focused setting in Muted Trumpet Harmon is special for nailing the muted tones you can get from a Harmon Mute attached to a trumpet. Wavesfactory always delivers great results in their sample libraries, which is no exception here. The sample files’ audio quality and the quality of each offered effect are superb, boasting character and authenticity for a virtual instrument to be freely used in varied productions with the same great result being achieved.
3. Musical Sampling Atelier Series Sasaki Trumpet
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This vibrant collection will provide a responsive and concise virtual instrument to your track.
Musical Sampling released the Atelier Series collections to recreate some commonly used instruments in Kontakt libraries, offering selected instrument options. One of these is Sasaki Trumpet, which was entirely played by trumpetist Mikio Sasaki and focused on delivering a nice-sounding legato trumpet library.
The legato technique is very specific and can sound wonderfully if played authentically. As the trumpet shines when playing notes with this articulation, the entire Atelier Series Sasaki Trumpet concept lies in nailing this performance correctly. Aside from the “Legato Trumpet” instrument, you can count on an additional “Flugelhorn” option.
- Progressive vibrato
Another cool effect that can make your trumpet (or any other horn section instrument) sound more realistic is vibrato. The airflow variation when making this articulation can be crucial to provide the human touch to your performance, and all samples that may include this effect were meant to have a natural, progressive vibrato.
You can count on the included patches if you need ready-to-use sounds to be available when you open Atelier Series Sasaki Trumpet. They provide iconic presets and configurations that instantly get you to the perfect trumpet sound. Feel free to choose from “Workhorse,” “Emotional Flugel,” “Cup Mute,” “Harmon No Stem,” “Harmon Stem In,” “Fat Lead,” and “Playable Runs.”
- Dry recording
The recording stage is crucial for any instrument, even more so if you’re trying to create a virtual rendition of said instrument. Atelier Series Sasaki Trumpet was entirely recorded in a “Dry” setting, meaning that no effects or post-edition was added or done to the sample files. This can be useful because all sounds are ready for a mixing session that pleases your ears.
- IR Reverb
Reverbs are imperative for setting the authentic ambiance for an instrument, alongside other options such as delay. However, in recent years impulse response technology, which accurately captures an ambient’s reflections, has become more used and is available in many forms. One of the most useful of these is to include it in reverbs, and Atelier Series Sasaki Trumpet includes one with custom hall impulses ready to be explored.
This library is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in Kontakt version 5.8.1 or higher (it will not run in the Free Kontakt Player).
Mikio Sasaki is a wonderful player, and all the credits in this library go to his execution. Of course, Musical Sampling nails offer boutique instruments in their virtual form, but the nuances and subtle aspects of a trumpet were successfully translated into a sample collection by the trumpetist. The articulations are useful and expected from such software and can be crucial in providing an authentic and realistic musical performance.
4. Acoustic Samples VHorns Trumpet (UVI Workstation Library)
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The perfect blend of modeling and sampling technologies is inside this library.
Thanks to a clever mixture of modeling and sampling technologies, Acoustic Samples delivered an authentic-sounding trumpet library that doesn’t need too many key switches to be controlled and focuses on a consistent air flow throughout every played note.
Source: Acoustic Samples
A crucial element in terms of the trumpet’s sound, the mutes are frequently used to achieve a more reflective and unique sonority. Gladly, VHorns Trumpet offers a variety of them to be used, such as “Harmon,” “Plunger,” “Cup,” and even a “Bucket.”
- Legato transitions
Acoustic Samples took considerable time to develop an authentic legato articulation for VHorns Trumpet. Every pitch change or external noise was included to provide an authentic performance and create a unique articulation that only Acoustic Samples could provide.
- Harmonic Alignment Technology
Called “HAT,” this technology is responsible for delivering a precise airflow control that resembles a real musician’s. Furthermore, this technology works as simply as possible: play a note and adjust the airflow accordingly without complicated key switches and patches being activated. You can even automate the vibrato effect if you’d like to.
Speaking of which, the vibrato is very realistic and was carefully recreated. Acoustic Samples measured the different parameters present when a trumpetist plays vibrato, and everything was combined in an adjustable setting for VHorns Trumpet to provide a unique-sounding effect.
- Many mics to choose
Acoustic Samples used four different microphone positions to capture all sounds in VHorns Trumpet. This can deliver all the sounds you’re thinking of and more, with the possibility of adding EQ or reverb.
- Virtual Space
The “Virtual Space” section is very unusual to be included in a virtual instrument library, but it’s highly important nonetheless. This section allows you to place the musician in the exact spot you want in a horn ensemble setting, recreating the feeling of listening to a full band blowing the notes right in your face.
This library is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in UVI Workstation v3.0.18 or higher.
Arguably one of the most comprehensive and complete libraries on our list, VHorns Trumpet is part of the VHorns Brass Section bundle and boasts quality and useful features. This highly-praised collection can deliver authentic performances and articulations with the personal touch of crafting these parameters, not to be found in similar products. The “Virtual Space” section is one of the most intriguing and useful features, making you wonder how long you could’ve survived without this in your life.
5. 8dio Studio Series Fire Trumpet
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Tailored for modern and versatile performances, this sample collection has great sounds within.
One of the latest additions in 8dio’s catalog, Studio Fire Trumpet is a virtual rendition of a trumpet that doesn’t fear mixing modern recording techniques with dry and modern sonorities, resulting in an immersive and complex sound collection.
8dio claims Fire Trumpet includes the “fastest legatos you’ll ever play” without losing quality or authenticity. If you drag your fingers across your MIDI keyboard controller, you can expect to hear real transitions at high and low speeds.
It would be best if you focused on playing to get the most sounds out of this library. However, the modern techniques applied to record the samples in a dry setting paid off quite alright, resulting in a sample collection that doesn’t require complex commands or adjustments. This opens up space for musicality instead of spending hours tweaking knobs.
Apart from including many standard articulations, you can presume them to alter at whim and be controlled directly by your MIDI keyboard. “Staccato,” “Bends,” “Sustains,” “Legato,” and “Glissandos” are among the alternatives.
- Tuning adjustments
If you require a specific tuning for your track, Fire Trumpet has two small knobs that can be of assistance. The “Tonal” and “Fine” controls are inside a “Tuning” segment on the main interface screen and can be tweaked to adjust the overall tuning of the instrument.
The number of samples in Fire Trumpet is proof of the diverse sonorities you can get from this library. There are over 2,700 samples distributed in 1,4GB size of uncompressed files. This is not a heavy weight on your hard drive and showcases how good a library can sound, despite its size.
This library is available for macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 10 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in the full version of Kontakt 5.8.1 or later (it does not run in the free Kontakt Player!).
8dio offers a complete bundle in terms of trumpet sounds in Fire Trumpet. The display is friendly and invites the user to try out the many parameters set inside the plugin, each providing a great sound. The minimalistic and somewhat futuristic interface blends well with the actual size of this software, resulting in a smooth user experience with superb audio quality.
6. Native Instruments Session Horns Pro (Kontakt Library – Including Sax & Other Instruments)
A highly expressive and versatile horn library with great instant results.
Brass instruments are among the most expressive ones used in any musical situation. They can deliver dynamics alongside the music, getting the perfect chance to shine through your track. Native Instruments knows this too well, and Session Horns Pro showcases the best elements of a suitable brass ensemble.
This library blends outstanding quality with an intuitive interface and innovative functions that provide a genuinely musical workflow filled with the best sonic aspects of brass instruments. As a result, you can expect a tight, modern sound that will fit soul and pop productions very easily and in other modern musical genres.
- Instrument combinations
Session Horns Pro contains a selection of ten different brass instrument types that can be used as solo instruments or sections of up to six horns per opened .nki instance. These are the following instrument combinations that can be achieved, aside from the solo instruments:Single instrumentsInstrument combinationsTrumpet 1Bass and tenor trombonesTrumpet 2Bass trombone and baritone saxophoneMuted trumpetTenor and baritone saxophonesFlugelhornTenor trombone and tenor saxophoneTenor saxophoneAlto and tenor saxophonesAlto saxophoneTenor saxophone and muted trumpetBaritone saxophoneTrumpets 1 and 2Tenor tromboneAlto saxophone and trumpet 1Bass tromboneTenor saxophone and trumpet 1TubaTenor trombone and trumpet 1
- Smart Chord mode
This incredible tool lets you play four-voice chords by pressing one or two keys in your MIDI controller. The chords defined by root note and chord map will automatically be assigned to the white keys on your controller keyboard, starting with the C key. So, for example, if you select “F” as the root note and “major” as gender, pressing the C key on your keyboard will create an F major chord. Now you can play the resulting chords by pressing the respective key on your external keyboard controller. The selected scale’s degrees are used if you don’t additionally press a modifier key. These already include chord inversions.
- Instrument combinations
- Humanize knob
This knob is a nice addition that brings more organic and naturality to your horn’s sound. In addition, you can use the “Humanize” knob to control the timing, tuning, and velocity accuracy of the instruments in your horns section so that a slight difference in these parameters will be heard within them whenever they’re playing together.
- Humanize knob
- Animator view
Located at the lower end of the main interface, this feature is an adaptable MIDI horn phrase player. It offers an authentic selection of horn phrases for different musical styles grouped by genre, song, and phrase. Each genre folder holds several songs, each song contains six phrases, and each phrase comes with a harmonic progression that you can shape by playing your chords. You can also disable the harmonic progression in the phrases altogether and use their rhythm.
- Animator view
This plugin is available for macOS 10.12 or higher (the latest update) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats. Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 6 or higher is required.
This is one of the best brass libraries for popular brass instruments. Usually, only more modern and genre-oriented ensembles feature instruments such as the saxophone, and this is one of those libraries.
Native Instruments Session Horns Pro is perhaps the best collection in Soul, Pop, Latin, Indie, and even Cinematic Productions. The many configurations set between the instruments allow for a realistic experience, with many controls that enhance its usage.
7. Producers Vault TROMPETA LATINA
Trompeta Latina is a customer-request VST plugin that includes different Latin playing styles, articulations, and velocity layers developed by Producers Vault.
This is an autonomous plugin built merely on Producers Vault’s customer requests. So they gathered suggestions and ran straight to their studio in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, where they recorded different trumpet sounds from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Mexico.
- Simple controls:
You can control LFO Depth & Rate, strutting, Pan, and ADSR Envelope through knobs that work like any other Dry/Wet control. You also get a reverb FX, input gain, and pitch knob. Their versatility makes all these control knobs stand out since they can either be transparent or drastically change the sound.
- Sound and playability:
There are 12 amazingly sounding presets carefully recorded and post-produced, making Trompeta Latina VSTi stand out amongst many other VSTs and even Kontakt libraries regarding sound quality. You’ll find multiple key switches and velocity layers on this preset with articulations: long sustain, Crescendo, Falls, shakes, swells, valve flutters, and much more.
Supports Windows 7 or higher, macOS 10.6 or higher, runs on 32 and 64 bits and comes in VST and AU formats.
Trompeta Latina is an absolute keeper for Latin music producers and sound designers. However, it does require you to take the time to adjust dynamics and articulations to sound realistic. That being said, it sounds incredible, is easy to use, is easy to work with, and makes it even easier to get results.
8. VG Jazz Trumpet
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Instant good sounds can come out of this library.
VG Jazz Trumpet is another offering that consolidates the trumpet’s sound inside a Kontakt library. You can have characteristic options, like setting the desired effects to your taste or tailoring a breath controller to it, and you can rely on the quality of the sample files without worries.
- Velocity layers
You can count on up to four velocity layers per key. As a result, each key can have four significant variations in dynamics and intensity, which can be imperative to how your virtual instrument will resonate, aside from delivering an authentic human touch to the performance.
- Stereo knob
Using the “Stereo” knob may control the degree of stereo separation with one dial. Zero implies a full-bodied tone, while 100 shows a significant dispersion in your instrument’s stereo imaging. When this parameter is appropriately tuned, it is much easier to fit the sound of your virtual instrument into a mix.
- Edit the files
Every sample included in VG Jazz Trumpet can be loaded individually in your favorite DAW or sample editor, allowing further editing however you deem fit. With this possibility, you’re free to manipulate each sample file, adding effects or whatsoever on top of it.
- Breath control
A specific “Breath” knob controls the amount of breathing between notes. This may result in legato articulation because the greater the MIDI CC level, the more time it takes to “complete” the phrase for it to breathe properly. This feature is very useful when a humanlike touch is desired.
- Individual samples
All the notes in VG Jazz Trumpet were sampled individually. Although some people may claim this removes some human characteristics from the virtual instrument’s timbre, this can be crucial in detailing each nuance coming from the trumpet, thus getting even closer to the real instrument.
- Velocity layers
This library runs on macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 10 (64-bit only). It runs in Kontakt Player 5.6.8 and higher. Free Kontakt Player is not supported.
So far, the VG plugins we’ve covered have one thing in common: a dull design interface. They seem to add a certain “cheapness” to the software, which can be one of the worst points about VG Jazz Trumpet. However, the sounds are good, and so are the included options to tweak them, so this can be a useful plugin in the end.
Best free trumpet plugins
1. Orchestral Tools Rotary
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A complete big-band group packed in a convenient bundle.
Orchestral Tools created the SINEfactory libraries to provide free alternatives to widely used virtual instruments. It’s a freeware instruments subscription service that includes several useful sonorities seen in significant current works (you’ll be alerted by email every time a new collection is added). Rotary is a part dedicated to a whole horn group, featuring colorful instruments like the trumpet and a wide range of articulations and effects.
Rotary provides the anticipated instruments in comparable plugins: trumpets, trombones, saxophones, and a full brass or sax section. You may operate upon each virtual instrument individually or with the full ensemble at once, with each articulation displayed on the right-side screen menu.
Brass groups, in particular, are extremely sensitive to dynamic changes. This makes each articulation important, and you’ve included several. You may rely on falls, shakes, staccatissimo, scoops, marcatos, and even trills to convey a real instrument sound to your phrases and melodies.
- Microphone positions
You can quickly configure your microphone positioning in this section. It has three alternative positions, allowing you to tailor the entire acoustics and reverberation to your preferences and needs. You can also use a “Mono” output option instead of the standard stereo.
This library is available for macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 10 (64-bit only). It comes in VST and AU plugin formats and works with the SINE Player.
A basic yet highly effective and appealing library will undoubtedly aid you quickly and at no cost. Of course, you may also look at the various SINEfactory instruments, but Rotary can be a nice choice if you want a simple selection with predicted decent sound quality.
2. Spitfire Audio LABS Trumpet Fields
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This plugin is a series of free plugins created by professional musicians.
Spitfire Audio’s LABS series is well-known for putting a broad range of unique instruments in the hands of producers and artists worldwide. However, this packaging rose to prominence by integrating very particular choices, such as trumpets in this case, in a user-friendly and lightweight format that can be used in nearly any type of production.
- Innovative trumpets
The trumpet sounds in LABS Trumpet Fields were recorded and sampled with uttermost care, boasting warmth and cohesion among the two trumpet instruments resonating jointly. In addition, the players performed soft, longer notes that are the perfect element for a drone section or a specific ambiance.
- Minimalistic design
All packages in the LABS series have a basic design interface that allows you to focus on what truly matters: customizing the tones you desire without being distracted by visual clutter. In addition, the plugin is relatively lightweight and will be suitable for most users with limited CPU power, producing similarly decent sound quality.
- Simple parameters
LABS Trumpet Fields has three unique controls: a green fader on the left that controls the loudness of the loaded library and is linked to MIDI CC value 11, and a red fader on the right controls dynamics and overall articulations and is connected to MIDI CC value 1. The large center knob opens the FX menu and displays the number of FX currently used.
- Innovative trumpets
The library is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST 2, VST 3, AU, and AAX plugin formats.
The same quality supplied by the other instruments in the LABS series is likewise delivered in Trumpet Fields. Furthermore, this superb plugin can be rapidly downloaded and installed using the Spitfire Audio Installer, and it is less than 2GB in size overall. These advantages make it an excellent alternative for beginning producers looking to explore trumpet sounds and obtain a decent, consistent drone part in a track or production.
3. VSCO2 Trumpet
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This collection is an excellent resource for orchestral sounds since it has character and personality.
Versilian Studios desired to produce a sample collection relevant to real-world requirements. Most solutions promise to generate “genuine” sound, regardless of the instrument being emulated, but that is precisely what the developers did not want to do. As a result, VSCO 2 and its trumpet-focused library were created to counteract such an approach.
The freebie version has the virtual articulations seen in orchestral instruments, but this is more than enough to get things started. Common possibilities include “Sustain,” “Staccato,” and “Vibrato,” all tailored to the trumpet.
A separate “Pan” knob will allow you to fine-tune the panning of your sound. This is critical for establishing the right sound atmosphere and the instrument’s stereo imaging when working with big ensembles.
- Sample files
You may rely on nearly 1,900 sample files divided across several categories among the numerous instruments featured in this symphonic ensemble. An extra 1,200 files were employed to increase the instrument’s flexibility.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.11 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in .XRNI, SampleTank, and .WAV sample formats.
Because of Versilian Studios’ ability to deliver new orchestral libraries to life, this is one of the best freeware alternatives to investigate. However, if you’re searching for a library specializing in trumpets, this is not a viable option because it doesn’t include all instruments required to form an ensemble.
Can you play trumpet without reading music?
Yes, you can play trumpet without reading music. Every instrument can be learned without reading music, simply by playing it by ear, and the trumpet is no exception. This is possible since reading music doesn’t mean the same as reading the music notes you play, and this can be done by ear.
Instruments that require an airflow, like the trumpet, can be delicate to capture in samples or modeling technology. However, their sound heavily depends on the air techniques employed by musicians, so each subtle aspect of their sonority is worthy of exploring to deliver an authentic result.
The items listed in this article boast good quality and decent options for tweaking your sound. Of course, they can be tailored for a specific audience sometimes, but the overall idea is there, and most likely, you’ll find a good trumpet library collection amidst the various choices.
Talking about the best libraries, we can mention Audio Modeling SWAM Trumpets V3 and Acoustic Samples VHorns Trumpet, both delivering insanely good results in terms of sound quality and providing great modifications to the final sound you may be aiming at. In addition, the options and controls are versatile and handy to use, so it’s guaranteed that these options will bring you professional results.
Regarding simplicity and elegant looks, 8dio Studio Series Fire Trumpet is a serious contender. The amount of effort put into this plugin is minimal compared to others, with important sonic results derived from the slightest alteration in any particular knob.
For the freebie section, Orchestral Tools Rotary might be the most interesting option, as the entire library is comprehensive and offer great resources for beginner producers and professionals who can’t rely on heavy CPU processing.
Remember, the best way to know if a certain plugin or sample collection is ideal for you is to try out the demos before buying the final version.
See you next time!
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Eduardo Cardoso is a musician and audio producer based in São Paulo, Brazil. He studied both music production and theory in college and has successfully launched his career as a solo artist in 2021. With over 10 years of experience with the music business, he currently acts as a session musician, music producer, audio editor, and content creator.